Three Sighs

My favourite photo of us is over 30 years old. Something about this watercolour edit reminds me of timelessness – with colours, people, feelings blending into each other.

And in the end, we find there was, there is, always love.

For you, Papa, on what would have been your 77th birthday. 

papa and i watercolour

A bed on wheels is set up in the living room
because he hates hospitals, loves sports on television and there is nothing more we can do.

A saline drip trickles into his veins (Cancer must be thirsty work)
but I know he would much prefer a nice cold one.

An owl comes to visit in the middle of the night.
My father exhales three times as life leaves his body.

One –
A sigh of exhaustion, I imagine,
from hosting the unwanted guest who stole his strength, his freedom, his laugh.

Two –
A sigh of sadness, I know,
for all that is left behind: conversations with grandchildren, my mother navigating life without him, an unopened single malt from overseas.

Three –
A sigh of relief, I hope,
for the end of holding on to a rope that frays a little more every day,
for the end of suffering, the end of sympathy.

We move the bed out of the living room, now The Room Where My Father Died.
At least he’s not in pain anymore, they say.
We nod with heavy hearts because it is selfish to say But we are.

©2019 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

A Helicopter View of Jargon

Confused-Baby

When they tell me we should ‘touch base offline
perhaps just before close of play,’
I wonder.
Which base do they want to touch?
When is anyone ever offline?
What game is it we are playing?

When they suggest we think outside the box
one day, then another day ask for blue-sky thinking
and mean the same thing,
I wonder.
If everything outside the box is blue sky
then perhaps inside the box is sweet-smelling earth,
grains of soil you can gather, rub between your fingers
and inhale
just to feel something real.

I feel like crawling into that box
where I am safe from low-hanging fruit,
where there are no thought showers,
just simple, meaningful words
(and room for lateral thinking)
with other like-minded folk
who are tired of getting the ball rolling
then moving the goalposts.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about
deep diving, or drilling down, or closing the loop
and I don’t always catch the words before they escape.
But if I ever diarise a meeting for ideation or solutioning,
please promptly throw me out of the nearest
window of opportunity
where there will be plenty of blue sky.


©2018 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

How to write haiku

Carve into your soul
then scoop out the feelings that
suggest poetry.

Bleed from the heart, use
just seventeen syllables
to contain your wounds.

Write five-seven-five
for traditional haiku
or be a rebel and disregard the rules.

Fuse three phrases like
setting gold leaf in glass, the
result will sparkle.

To be authentic
plant your haiku in nature
and include surprise!

If you get it wrong
first drafts of haiku make great
origami cranes.

©2018 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

A Trio of Halloween Haiku

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A haiku is a short, Japanese poem that follows a set structure: three lines, 17 syllables in a 5/7/5 distribution, unrhymed.

Here is my seasonal offering, a semi-traditional trio of haiku.

1.
Monsters and witches
walk among us every day:
Groundhog Halloween.

2.
Beware of the masks
that cannot be removed, some
creatures wear plain clothes.

3.
In the costumed haze,
Clowns with painted smiles offer
tricks disguised as treats.

©2018 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

The Waiting Perch

pigeons

Love is a tiny morsel of bread
flung by a careless hand.
The lonely pigeon, one amongst hundreds
swoops down from her waiting perch
open-hearted and hopeful for a taste of happiness.
She surfaces hungry, pitiful
while others emerge victorious,
strutting around with full bellies and smug expressions.
So she returns to her perch
to wait for the fling
of the next morsel
that surely will be hers.

©2018 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

Your body is not a temple.

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A quote from Anthony Bourdain inspired me to write a poem. He said:

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” 

The poem then expanded into a post on Elephant Journal with some ideas on how to enjoy the ride. My Amusement Park Goals.

You can read the full post here on Elephant JournalYour body is not a temple

And here is the poem:

Your body is not a temple.
Forget your pristine offerings,
the steps leading to enlightenment,
and the need for worship.

God doesn’t only live in holy buildings.
He also lives in Disneyland, Legoland,
and perhaps even in your local playground
if you look hard enough.

Your body is an Untemple
waiting for that Mad Tea Party
where spinning around can also bring
the discovery of divine pleasure.

Delight in the fairy floss of her hair,
lose yourself in magic kingdoms,
feel the adrenaline pumping from a wild ride,
and sometimes take the slow train to nowhere.

Before the sun sets
and you must hand in your wristband,
make adventure your Guru,
make fun a sacred ritual.
Your body is not a temple.

©2018 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

Futile exercise

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They run from their problems
like Olympic sprinters going for Gold.
Powerful, determined.

They veer suddenly from difficult conversations
like gazelles avoiding a predator.
Leaping from conflict.

They pursue their insipid dreams
like marathon runners.
Deliberate, methodical.

But all roads lead to pain and suffering.
Problems catch up, difficult conversations find short-cuts
and dreams are pacemakers, always just out of reach.

Unlike broken bones, broken souls cannot be easily fixed.
The x-ray shows nothing is wrong
but they know that something needs mending.

©2018 Seetha Dodd